Methods of Revision

What to do with the poem that isn’t quite right? And how not to merely salvage the poem but to transform it, allowing you to see the subject anew and to write, as Robert Frost said, “what you didn’t know you knew”? In this class we will explore eight methods of revision, accessible to beginners yet relevant to advanced writers as well; tropes, form, compression, clarity, and ambiguity will be among our concerns. Reading and discussing exemplary poems from various styles will also be emphasized. Students will be asked to bring to class four to six poems to revise—sharing and critiquing will be minimal and optional—, and we will test Theodore Roethke’s notion that “the only tricks of the real artist are technical.”